Perhaps no other room in the house has been influenced quite so directly by the past century’s social, economic, and political changes as the kitchen. Counterspace: Design and the Modern Kitchen, a new exhibition at New York’s Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), surveys key moments in the perpetual redesign of the kitchen since the early 1900s, in the context of evolving ideologies and technologies. Highlighting different perspectives on applying new innovations within the domestic sphere, Counterspace examines the myriad ways kitchen design reflects—and sometimes shapes—social values and agendas, our relationships with technology and food, and our attitudes about family life and the domestic role of women.

Three sections focus on major design moments in the 20th century that influenced the kitchen’s evolution, beginning with pre-war architects’ concepts of the modern, rational kitchen; followed by the post-war emphasis on consumer choice and leisure; and ending with contemporary artistic critiques of modern kitchen design. A selection of kitchen objects and gadgets, along with photography, film, prints, drawings, and paintings, augment each section. MoMA’s Counterspace runs through March 14, 2011.